Charlotte Mason Preschool With Living Books

April 15, 2014

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton

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Did you know preschool could be as easy as just reading to your child? We have posted some resources below for homeschooling preschoolers with the Charlotte Mason Method of schooling – using living books!


In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.

~Charlotte Mason

I love how Charlotte Mason embraces spending time with your children, letting them just be children! No pressure to learn academic facts just letting them BE. Giving them ample opportunities to explore nature, reading to them, teaching them good habits and life skills. Through this your children will be learning. These sweet little ones don’t need workbooks! 

Charlotte Mason firmly believes in the early years (age 0-6) that you should spend LOTS of time outdoors. What I love about this is that being outside usually gets the wiggles out and gets your little ones tired and cuddly. This is the perfect time to snuggle up in a comfy chair and read before nap time or a quiet, rest time. If you have multiple children you are homeschooling this gives you a special time with your little ones which you will always remember!

Have you ever wondered what types of books to read to your preschoolers? Charlotte Mason recommends “Living Books”. Living Books are written by one person who is passionate about the subject in which they are writing. It is most always written in a narrative or conversational tone. It does not list dry, informational facts. A Living Book will pull you in, draw your attention and make you think.

“The children must enjoy the book. The ideas it holds must each make that sudden, delightful impact upon their minds, must cause that intellectual stir, which mark the inception of an idea,” Charlotte Mason, School Education, p. 178.

Charlotte Mason didn’t give a list of specific books, but she did give many, many thoughts and ideas on what she meant by a living book. There are some great publishers that have studied  Charlotte Mason and what she meant by a whole, living book. In all their research they have come up with some pretty great book lists. 

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These are some of the great Living Book lists I have found:

This is a wonderful resource by a small, Charlotte Mason/Classical style publisher called Barefoot MeanderingPathways Language Lessons for Literature Level 0 is a two year adjustable reading program for preschoolers. Each schedule includes up to 180 days of reading depending upon which path you choose.

Ambleside Online Year 0 Booklist  This list gives you a good criteria for choosing Charlotte Mason style picture books and a list of some of the great ones!

Simply Charlotte Mason has a great list of Favorite Read Aloud Books for Preschoolers and a Preschool Guide, along with a bunch of great info and suggestions! Don’t forget to grab their free ebook “Smooth and Easy Days.” 

Queen Homeschool is another favorite publisher. They carry some beautiful, vintage animal story books called Animal Autobiographies that are great read alouds for preschoolers! 

I really like this Charlotte Mason Pre-School Schedule

Charlotte Mason Help has an excellent preschool literature list and activity ideas for preschoolers using the Charlotte Mason Method of teaching.

This is a great post: Nature Study with VERY Young Children.

Shining Dawn Books has a great selection of materials that you can use with preschoolers. I love their “Loving Living Math” book to introduce you to that methodology!

This is a great post that describes the different “subjects” and how you can incorporate the CM method with a preschooler with a curriculum chart.

This is a favorite in our house and on many living book lists:
Everyone loves Peter Rabbit! Here is the hardback version perfect for coffee tables:

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales Was $40.00 Now $22.60

Here is the most affordable version illustrated for the Kindle:

Beatrix Potter Illustrated Collection with 22 Books! Only 99 Cents!

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